Asia Citizen Future Association (ACFA) is a Taiwan-based NGO aims to connect Taiwan and the regional civil society in order to confront the threat of the closing of civic space witnessed globally. We are currently working on the following projects:
Research on Taiwan's civic space and explore Taiwan's role in the regional civil society
Civic space is essential components and a key to the practice of human rights. As UN Guidance Note on Protection and Promotion of Civic Space demonstrates, “[c]ivic space is the environment that enables people and groups – or ‘civic space actors’ – to participate meaningfully in the political, economic, social and cultural life in their societies. Vibrant civic space requires an open, secure and safe environment that is free from all acts of intimidation, harassment and reprisals, whether online or offline. Any restrictions on such a space must comply with international human rights law.”
Taiwan rated only country in Asia with open civic space for 3rd straight year. However, rights to freedom of assembly and association are still not fully guaranteed and protected in Taiwan. Taiwan's Civil Association Act（人民團體法） is formulated primarily during the martial law period. It had a large amendment in 2011 in order to be in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the ICCPR Implementation Act, which is a domestic law. However, the strict requirements to the legal registration specified in the articles of the Civil Association Act still restricts freedom of association in practice.
On the other hand, obstacles and restrictions to foreigners when they are practicing their fundamental human rights, especially rights to peaceful assembly and association in this context, still not full reviewed. Given the trend that Taiwan rapidly develops its international role and accumulate its international experience in recent years, increasing cases that foreigners and organisations use and explore Taiwan's civic space are observed. How to guarantee foreigners' fundamental human rights to assembly and association in Taiwan is an important issue to be fully discussed and improved by the Taiwanese civil society and the government.
ACFA, therefore, is currently conducting a research to scrutinize Taiwan's civic space in terms of the social, financial, and legal conditions. This research aims to evaluate Taiwan's pros and cons in hosting regional, international and foreign organisations and individuals. This reports demonstrates cases and further provide policy advices for the civil society and the government on how to exert Taiwan's role and duty to support and collaborate with the civil societies in the region to pursuit human rights, equality and diversity.
We believe that using Taiwan's civic space to support and collaborate with civil society actors in the region is an important step to make and a pragmatically role that Taiwan should plays when the global civic space is facing threats and shrinking today.
Myanmar Diaspora movement in Taiwan
The humanitarian and political crisis happening in Myanmar is one of the most serious and insolvable problems that we are encountering today in our region.
Following the coup in February 2021, Myanmar’s military junta has relied on an arsenal of weapons to execute the great scale of the violation against human rights, the suppression against civic space, opponents and activists, and the oppression against labours union. Human are fragile confronting lethal weapon and repression. However, people in Myanmar keep demonstrate strong momentum and resilience during the protracted fights.
Surprisingly, Taiwan plays an important role under this situation. A recently released Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) report, "Fatal Business: Supplying the Myanmar Military’s Weapon Production", identifies that machines manufactured by companies legally domiciled in Taiwan are currently used by the Myanmar military at its weapon production factories. The report further demonstrates that Taiwan functions as an important transit point for the purchase of high precision machines. The report states that "[i]t appears as though the absence of Taiwanese sanctions on Myanmar facilitates these types of transactions and shipments to and from Myanmar for the performance of critical maintenance."
In order to support for Myanmar people's movement and human rights in Myanmar, ACFA works to
(1) enhance the understanding of Taiwanese civil society, parliament and governments departments on the situation in Myanmar in order to advocate and promote the intervene and sanction to related stakeholders.
(2) facilitate the organising of Taiwan's Myanmar community and connect the Myanmar Diaspora movement in Taiwan with international Myanmar's movement and community
By Leah Lin, Secretary-general of Asia Citizen Future Association 2023.2